From: Matthew
Re: GAMSAT Writing

There are plenty of great posts and other sources getting around that discuss the fundamentals of GAMSAT writing for section 2. And of course, such fundamentals are important! The following post, however, is aimed at those of you who feel confident in terms of the basics (i.e. composing a thesis in response to the quotes and implementing an essay structure) but would like to know how to really give your essays some punch. (If you want a crash course in the basics though, please see one of our earlier posts such as GAMSAT Essay Tips, GAMSAT Written Communication and/ or Section II Preparation.)

GAMSAT Writing Tip #1: Rethink and rewrite your thesis before you start writing

A common ability of students who write excellent GAMSAT essays is being able to critically evaluate the utility of their thesis before they start writing their essay. This is a very useful skill in that it allows you to double check whether your thesis will allow you demonstrate a well-reasoned, sophisticated and empathetic point of view before you commit to a particular thesis and use up your time writing an essay that answers it. This ability comes naturally to some people, but if it doesn’t, try using the following questions to ‘test’ your thesis before committing to it.

  • Is my thesis too narrow or too broad in terms of allowing me to explore interesting and diverse facets of the topic, or will I end up basically saying the same thing multiple times?
  • Does my thesis allow me to explore the heart of a topic or have I painted myself into a corner in the sense that my thesis is so specific that I am looking at just the tip of the iceberg?
  • Is there a more argumentative/ punchy/ concise etc. way that I could phrase my thesis?
  • Am I even interested in what I am about to write about?
  • Do I actually agree more with the rebuttal to this thesis (if yes, flip your thesis and use your original arguments as your rebuttal!)?
  • Am I actually going to say anything even remotely interesting or insightful if I use this thesis?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then it’s time to revamp your thesis into something that will facilitate a better essay!

GAMSAT Writing Tip #2: Rethink your examples

Students often pick examples that are a little bit ‘meh’ (as the expression goes!). By this I mean that students often pick an example that illustrates what they are trying to say, but it is perhaps not the most effective/ powerful/ interesting example of the particular idea/ concept/ argument they are trying to express.

Take for example (no pun intended), the following topic sentence and example:

Human beings must take responsibility for the technology they have created in order to ensure that such technology does not negatively affect their lives. Motor vehicles are an example of where this idea is relevant; if we do not have legislation that regulates the use of cars, they will end up causing harm to humans through motor vehicle accidents.

The above example is good, but there might be multiple, perhaps more powerful example of this idea that could be listed to more convincingly prove the point. The paragraph could instead be…

Human beings must take responsibility for the technology they have created in order to ensure that such technology does not negatively affect their lives. There are multiple examples of where this argument holds true, including the responsible use of technologies that enhance our convenience to ensure that lifestyle diseases do not increase in prevalence, the regulated use of weapons such as firearms, and controlled use of man-made substances such as pharmaceuticals.

Rethinking your examples, and using more than one, can really add significant punch to your paragraphs. 

The above tips are just two ways of reinforcing your GAMSAT essays to make them more robust and sophisticated.

Stay tuned for additional tips!

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